I've often thought it would be great to open my own bookshop and the one I see in my mind's eye is a lot like the Mainstreet Trading Company. It combines a lovely large space for books that are well displayed both on shelves and tables, with a cafe selling great coffee, cakes and snacks.
For me being able to sit and read a book (and even browse through some before buying) while having a good cup of coffee and a cake is close to perfection – make sure your hands are not sticky! One of the really good things about Mainstreet Trading is the selection of titles. They offer a great range and there's plenty of space so you don't feel you're on top of the person standing next to you who is also intent on finding the perfect book to buy.
Roz de la Hey, whose shop it is, runs it along with her husband and as you'd expect from someone who worked for Bloomsbury, and did J.K. Rowling's publicity, she has a great eye for children's books. Roz's shelves are stocked with kids books for every age and they are well sourced so that she seems to have just the right selection. Naturally her knowledge of children's titles is extensive, but like all the best bookshop owners she's not slow in pointing out other good titles.
When I visited the shop for the second time she had a pile of Resistance by Agnes Humbert. It's a memoir of WW2 occupied France and it's a gripping read. I know this because Roz virtually ordered me to buy it – in the nicest possible way.
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